Interview with Jade Onyx

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are Shoshanna Evers and Kallypso Masters. They are the first authors who inspired me to take my fiction writing seriously, and they were both very encouraging.

Shoshanna's nonfiction anthology "Successful Self-Publishing: How We Do It (And How You Can Too)" had many tips for self-publishing, especially in the romance fiction industry. At the time, I was just researching the self-publishing industry. Kallypso's essay in the anthology inspired me to look into romance fiction.

As I did more and more research into the romance fiction genre, I soon found the romance writer within me. So I will be forever indebted to both Shoshanna and Kallypso for lighting the path for me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in San Francisco, California, before it became more and more populated by Chinese people. I have met and spoken with so many kinds of people there that cultural and ethnic diversity definitely shows in my work. Moving to the East Bay and living in such a diverse setting continues to inform my stories and fill a craving I did not know I had until I read other stories in my genre. I find myself very interested in how people interact between cultures, identities, or what Gloria Anzaldua would call "borderlands."

I don't expect all of my readers to understand how my characters interact with each other or how "believable" they are based in one's own realities. I hope that readers will just see the humanity in my characters and relate to them in a way that goes beyond differences. Striving to foreground the humanity within all of us is why I released my novella "Eat Mì (Eat Me)," a romance about an Asian American man and an American woman, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, even though that was a Saturday and no indie author in their sane mind (including traditional publishers, of course) would schedule release day on a weekend!

We live in a nuclear age, an age of nuclear power as well as an age of nuclear weapons. The attack on Pearl Harbor sparked the U.S. participation in a war that brought all of humankind into our present condition, our clear and present danger of living with nuclear arsenals that can wipe out our whole existence. I self-published "Eat Mì (Eat Me)" as a cause for peace, as a statement toward nuclear abolition, and I hope one day we will live in a nuclear-free world where we embrace and uphold the sanctity of human life and the immense and rich diversity that populates our beautiful planet.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in elementary school, when I realized how nice it would be to earn money as a writer. I found myself writing short stories for awhile. Then I started writing poetry in middle school and high school. By college, my writing became more prosaic (must be those essays!) and resulted in several nonfiction pieces showing up in different anthologies. (No, I won't disclose my other name for previous published works.) For over a decade after my first piece was published, I thought of myself as a nonfiction writer.

Then, in 2013, I found myself attending more memorials than I could count on one hand. Every memorial was meaningful to me, because the question that kept eating at my mind was: How would I like to be memorialized? That question ate at my core and kept me unsettled. Finally, in August, I realized I was a fiction writer. I was so elated about this, because my first passion was creative writing in fiction. I had somehow come full circle, straight back to grade school! I was so excited with the revelation, then flabbergasted, because I had no idea what my genre was!

After soul-searching--reading, researching, sitting by myself--I found my answer and realized I was a romance writer. I have finally embraced my mission and I hope to "make it" as a self-published author capable of making a livelihood off of my writing so that one day when I pass I can rest and be assured that I really did accomplish this calling.
What is your writing process?
I write when the characters show up, when they disturb my sleep, when I can't get them off of my mind until I tell their story. This has happened twice so far when I started my book length project "Awake." Over two-thirds into writing the first draft of that novel, two sets of characters showed up one after the other to demand that their story be written.

The first interruption became a novelette entitled "Prison Break." In some ways, this story served as a form of redemption for the female protagonist who had caused so much trouble as a secondary character in "Awake." She was miserable, so miserable that I knew I could not let her stay in that misery and cause more misery to others. So I wrote Prison Break for her to have a happy ending.

The second interruption became a novella entitled "Eat Mì (Eat Me)." The conversation that the female protagonist in this book had with her brother in "Awake" left me so hot and horny and curious about her that I started writing her happy for now story.

So my writing process is primarily character-driven. Everything else springs from there. I hope you enjoy their stories, and I hope that I do their stories justice.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
As a mother of two young children under four who is pregnant with her third child, I have to say that my children are the ones who get me out of bed. The oldest, my firstborn, was my alarm clock for awhile. Then, my secondborn took over the duty, waking me up not only in the morning for breakfast, but also in the middle of the night for a visit to the potty!

Besides my kids, I view every day as a fresh start to a fresh page of a story. Sometimes I go to bed baffled about my characters and have to sleep on it. Other days, I can't wait to move my characters closer to their happily ever after (HEA) or their happy for now (HFN). Sometimes, I hit jackpot and meet one of my characters during the day and can't wait to go back to the screen to write about them.

However, most of my writing time is left for bedtime. I'm just glad young children need about twelve hours of sleep while adults like me need way less. So I try to pack in a couple of hours for writing, research, improving my craft, networking, book design and book promotion.
How do you approach cover design?
I study the covers of other authors in my genre and related genres. Then when the image appears to me, I seek out these images in reality.

Between photos I take myself and stock photos, I utilize the graphic design skills I acquired in college to craft the final cover design.

Until I "make it" as an indie author who can earn a livelihood that includes a budget to invest in my next writing project, I foresee I will be doing the cover work myself before I can hire a professional graphic designer.
Describe your desk.
My writing desk is the desk from hell. I have barely enough space to put my laptop. Everything else on my desk are books, binders, newspapers, and loose-leaf papers that need to be filed or recycled or thrown out. It's actually quite horrible. I wish I could upload a picture, because that picture will tell you more than I can even with a thousand words to answer this question.

Frankly, I don't think anyone who has seen my desk will think of me as an author. However, maybe another mom of young kids can understand how things get cluttered and decluttering falls on a list of lower priorities when everything with young kids is "I want it - everything - NOW" urgent... :-)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing, I love to read. I love reading other indie authors who have "made it." I am a sucker for a happy ending in a story and I am just as much of one for a real life story about other authors who have made it--meaning that they have successfully made a livelihood out of their writing.

I told myself that I would submit work to a traditional publisher. However, I can clearly see by my impatient nature that I have zero patience for the whole book-publishing process from submission to release day on a typical traditional publishing schedule. So I make it a point to look at the indie trends when I am not writing.

I also love cooking (note: I have little patience for baking), watching a good movie, listening to music, spending time with friends and family, connecting and responding to readers, meeting new people and people-watching. Oh, and did I mention the library? I love going to the library--it's like dating. I don't have to buy anything, but I could sample and "date" the material. If libraries did not exist (thank Andrew Carnegie), I would have a fire hazard for a home because of my book hoarding tendencies. I mean, I love e-books, but nothing beats turning the pages of a print book without worrying about radiation emission frequencies coming from an e-reader.

In terms of the great outdoors, hiking in natural settings wins hands down. Other than that, my urban walks make up for the infrequent visits to nature. What's nice about the urban walks is that most urban people don't recognize fruit trees when they see them, because they are too used to the fruits that appear in the farmer's markets or in the supermarkets. I've had the pleasure of enjoying urban foraging and tasting mulberries, loquats, and pineapple guavas. Helps when I know when they are in season as well!
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean A LOT to me. If not for you, I would not write. Sure, the characters spur me on to write their story down. However, if there was no one to enjoy their romance or their happy ending, then why write at all?

I was so happy to get my first fan mail on Facebook and simply overjoyed to even sell one copy of each of my existing books. I was also excited to see my books reviewed, as low as two stars and as high as four stars, because either way I "heard" from a reader. I mean, it gets lonely for an author when you write in a vacuum or go into the writer's cave for prolonged periods...

I especially like hearing from my fans, because I purposefully chose to write in a pen name that even my closest friends and family have no idea about that any purchase of my books at all had to have come from total strangers and therefore readers. (Yes, my DH has no idea what my pen name is nor have I ever shown him my work.)

So if you are a fan, a reader, a fellow author, blogger/reviewer, etc., I would LOVE to hear from you! I mean, I love my characters, but I especially love it when I hear from "real" people. And I do my best to respond promptly (within 24 hours if not on holiday). So contact me--friend me, tweet me, or email me via my website. :-)
Will you do a guest post or interview for my blog?
I would love to do so, especially if I have the time. Just send me three interview questions. I can also do an ebook giveaway on your site.

If you are a reputable blogger/reviewer or come highly recommended by a colleague, I would be more than happy to provide a complimentary advance review copy (ARC) for you to review for your blog, an online bookseller, and further inform your interview questions. Otherwise, you can check out the Free Reads section on my website for other material to get a sense of my writing style.
What would you suggest to aspiring authors?
Just keep reading and writing.

Set a time, set a word count, set goals, set the space. Sit down and write.

You are unique and the only one who can tell your story.
If not you, who? If not now, when?

Now close out of this page and get to it! That was an order! :-)
Published 2013-12-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Prison Bait
Series: OceanCrest Latin Lovers, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,010. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
After reconciling with Mateo and returning home, Natalia encounters a different struggle: how to reassure Mateo that she is indeed here to stay. Mateo, newly aware of Natalia’s needs, strives to become the man he needs to be to win not only her body back but her heart, mind and soul. PRISON BAIT is a MaleDom BDSM 15,000-word novella written by HER ~ Healing Erotic Romance ~ author Jade Onyx.
Swept Away
Series: OceanCrest Seattle Summer, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,940. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic, Fiction » Erotica » BDSM
(4.00 from 1 review)
Billionaire executive Jessica Wyatt has all the ingredients for beauty, brains and dough. Only problem is, all the good rich men are taken and her latest spineless ex dropped the bomb over the phone. Diamond manufacturer An Tang has no time for relationships but plenty of time for his secret life away from the prying eyes of his parents, a secret life he shares with an honor-bound Jessica.
Prison Break
Series: OceanCrest Latin Lovers, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,080. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
(4.00 from 1 review)
When Natalia escapes a loveless relationship and fails to seduce an old flame, she makes use of her alluring attire in the comfort of her suite when two strangers hand her a bag and a phone. Some quick and dirty phone sex might be exactly what she needs, but Mateo's not done with his pleasureful punishment yet.